ANC differed with Botswana on Libya - Mantashe
by Edgar Tsimane
South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) has for the first time publicly disclosed it differed with Botswana’s pronouncements on Libya outside the African Union.
The ANC, however, says it has no disagreement with the country on Zimbabwe.
This after Botswana has been consistently making pronouncements on several continental issues outside SADC and the African Union.
The ANC’s Secretary General, Gwede Mantashe, told this reporters on Friday immediately after an ANC delegation had a closed door meeting with the ruling Botswana Democratic Party.
“There was disagreement on the handling of the Libyan question. When Botswana recognised the TNC [The Libyan National Transitional Council] before the African Union pronounced itself on that matter. The source of worry was that if member parties to the AU [African Union] pronounce on issues before the AU, as a multilateral institution, it will weaken the AU in the face of other regional blocks. We did discuss that in the previous meeting not today. We closed that chapter,” said Mantashe Friday.
Mantashe has denied reports that the ANC is not happy with Botswana over a number of issues.
“We don’t have resentments when parties disagree with us. We have no disagreement with Botswana on Zimbabwe. I want to put that up front clear cut that there is no disagreement between the ANC and the BDP on Zimbabwe. We agree that countries from time to time will have different views to ours,” said Mantashe.
Manatshae denied South Africa was moving to curtail press freedom through the country’s Protection of Information Bill, dubbed the Secrecy Bill by the South African media.
“The Protection of Information Bill is not a media legislation. It is a security legislation dealing with classification and declassification of information. That is the essence of that act,” he said.
Asked whether the ANC still has intentions to review the decisions of the courts, Mantashe said there is nothing wrong in reviewing decisions of the courts.
“Courts and judges are human. That’s why they also appeal their own decisions from one court to the next. They can make mistakes on particular judgements,” said Mantashe. The ANC secretary general said his party has previously raised concerns with court judgements in South Africa, citing one involving the naming of a new political party [Congress of the People which was an offshoot of the ruling party]] arguing that its name would be a historical distortion. He said the ANC also criticised a judgement that pronounced that one struggle song called “Shoot the Boer” amounted to hate speech, arguing that the judgement did not take into account the fact that the liberation song was part of the ANC heritage and history of the struggle for liberation.
“We must be able to express views on court judgements but respect them. The right to express a view on a court judgement is a right that should be protected for the ANC and everybody else,” Mantashe said.
He said there was no single judgement the ANC can be accused of having not respected.
The ANC’s Mantashe told journalists his party is happy with the role played by Botswana in supporting their campaigning for Nkosazana-Dlamini Zuma for the chairmanship of the AU.
The BDP Secretary General, Mpho Balopi, said his party’s meeting with the ANC was normal and routine for ruling parties to review relationships and share developments within the region and continent.